Still Life With Chickens
ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland, NZ
By ALEX SAIFITI
It is easy to enjoy a play so pure in its portrayal of love, life, loss and loneliness. Still Life with Chickens, although only an hour long, packs a punch of all things relevant to human existence.
Simple yet effective, only two people, Puppeteer Haanz Fa’avae-Jackson and overwhelmingly talented, Goretti Chadwick, grace the stage. Director Fasitua Amosa and Playwright D.F Mamea ensure the audience are drawn in, captivated from beginning to end.
As an outside observer, we see the struggles and triumphs of life from a backyard perspective. While clothes are put out to dry, and a well-maintained and productive garden is tended to, Mama (played by Chadwick) uses her alone time to consult inanimate objects, past family pets and an inquisitive chicken she names Moa.
The set is simple yet effective, and both lighting and sound effectively accommodate the vibrant storyline.
Although we never see him, Mama’s husband plays an important role. He represents what once was and what still is. He offers humour and glimpses of realistic relationship quarrels. Haanz Fa’avae-Jackson does a fantastic job of being one with life-like Moa. He is delicate yet obtrusive and blunt when he needs to be.
Samoan culture and consequently New Zealand culture plays its part in the hour, with the stage presence of KFC and references to the melting pot of the Pacific illustrated by a plethora of cultures living on the one street.
There are underlying themes of family and change – what once was and what now is. Although there is an underlying sadness to Mama, her strengthening relationship with Moa provides a useful sounding board and opportunity for humour throughout the play. The story is sad yet funny and offers powerful messages for all to take away, simple actions like appreciating family.
Without giving it away, the ending represents the joys of life. Just when you think things cannot get better, they do. Life is simple, and often the simple things in life make us the happiest.
Still Life with Chickens plays at the ASB Waterfront Theatre before playing in Palmerston North and Wellington. Be sure to see it!
Where & when:
- ASB Waterfront Theatre, March 17-24
- Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North: 7-15 April
- Circa Theatre, Wellington: May 8-June 2
ALEX SAIFITI is a Commerce and Property student at the University of Auckland, crawling his way through university, asking the questions that hopefully matter and wondering if money is really the answer to his problems. Check out more of his work here:
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